Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly in St. Petersburg, Russia

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Subject: Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly in St. Petersburg, Russia
From: Walsh, Maureen (Maureen.Walsh@mail.house.gov)
Date: Wed Jul 21 1999 - 17:38:44 EDT


Note from Melanie:

Rep. Smith is the proponent of the 'sex trafficking' bill, which is much
more limited in scope than Sen. Wellstones Bill. Rep. Smith's bill only
covers cases of trafficking for forced prostituion and does not protect all
of the thousands, upon thousands of people (men, women and children) who
are trafficked into the US for forced labor, debt bondage and peonage in
other industries, such as sweatshops, domestic servitude, cohersive manual
labor, to mention just a few.

Melanie

______________________________

On July 6-10, 1999, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe's (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly met in St. Petersburg, Russia. At
this annual session of the Parliamentary Assembly, Rep. Christopher H. Smith
(R-NJ) introduced a resolution on trafficking. The resolution was adopted
on July 10 by the Parliamentary Assembly without objection.

By way of background, the Parliamentary Assembly was created in the early
1990s to encourage greater parliamentary involvement in the OSCE.
Parliaments of all OSCE States are represented in the Assembly, which is now
composed of 317 Parliamentarians representing 54 countries-these include all
European countries, the newly independent states, Canada and the United
States. The main activity of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is the Annual
Session at which legislators discuss and debate human rights, military
security, economic and environmental concerns. The Parliamentary Session
votes on the adoption of a Final Declaration, which includes specific
resolutions and recommendations. The resolutions are adopted by majority
vote rather than by the traditional OSCE consensus rule of unanimous
agreement. The resolutions adopted by the Parliamentary Session are not
binding on the OSCE or on participating States but serve as an indication of
issues important to parliamentarians.

The text of the adopted resolution is as follows:

RESOLUTION
ON
TRAFFICKING OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly,

1. Condemning the fact that millions of persons every year, of whom the
overwhelming majority are
women or children, are trafficked into the international sex trade, in gross
violation of their fundamental human rights;

2. Underlining that trafficking of persons in all its forms is an evil that
calls for concerted and vigorous action by countries of origin, transit and
destination, and by international organizations;

3. Noting that international trafficking in persons is not limited to sexual
trafficking but also involves
forced labour and other violations of internationally recognised human
rights;

4. Concerned that sexual trafficking is a particularly brutal form of the
international traffic in persons
which includes all the elements of the crime of rape because it results in
the involuntary participation of another person in sex acts by means of
fraud, force, or coercion;

5. Aware that trafficking in women and children in the OSCE region and
beyond is inherently related to the global phenomenon of organised crime
relating to slavery, forced labour and forced prostitution;

6. Recalling the commitments of OSCE participating States, as set out in the
1991 Moscow Document, to "seek to eliminate all forms of violence against
women, and all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of
women including by ensuring adequate legal prohibitions against such acts
and other appropriate measures";

7. Recalling that international law recognises the right to be free from
slavery and involuntary servitude, arbitrary detention, degrading or inhuman
treatment, and arbitrary interference with privacy or the family, as well as
the right to protection by law against these abuses;

8. Concerned that existing legislation and law enforcement in some OSCE
participating States are
inadequate to deter trafficking and to bring traffickers to justice and that
enforcement against international sexual traffickers is also hindered by
official indifference, corruption, and in some instances active official
participation in trafficking;

9. Urgently appeals to the Governments of OSCE participating States to adopt
or strengthen existing
legislation and enforcement mechanisms to punish trafficking perpetrators,
particularly those who use force or fraud to traffic women or children into
the international sex trade, while protecting the rights of the trafficking
victims;

10. Urges the Governments of OSCE participating States to develop nationally
and internationally
co-ordinated law enforcement strategies to combat internationally organised
crime, and particularly the role of organised crime in trafficking of women
and children;

11. Recommends that countries of origin, transit and destination of
trafficking victims conduct information campaigns to raise public awareness
and understanding of this problem;

12. Suggests that the ODIHR convene a meeting of expert advisors and
relevant officials from OSCE
participating States to develop a co-ordinated strategy for combating this
problem.

Maureen T. Walsh
Counsel
Commission on Security and
    Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission)
234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-1901 tel
(202) 226-4199 fax
http://www.house.gov/csce/


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